Skip to main content
6:00 pm
>> hello, everyone, and welcome to the journal here on dw-tv in berlin. i'm megan lee with the news. >> i'm sarah kelly with the business news, welcome. our top stories at this hour -- in japan, the military has used wear from firefighters to cool reactors. the ieae says it has stabilized, but it could still worsen. the security council is voting on libya as the gaddafi forces push into rebel-held territory.
6:01 pm
the u.n.'s nuclear watch dog says efforts made by japan to cool reactor it's and fuel rods at the fukushima power plant have stabilized the situation but warning it could deteriorate. engineers have worked through the night to install a power line for water pumps needed to cool two reactors and a storage site for spent nuclear fuel rods. helicopters have also been dumping water on overheating reactors to stave off a meltdown. fire trucks have also joined in the effort. >> japan has been pinning a lot of its hopes on these trucks. they can get within 80 meters of the reactor. the trucks have repeatedly doused the pool with water as shown in this graphic from japanese tv. authorities were guarded about the operation's success. some reports say radiation
6:02 pm
levels have risen since it began. an airborne aspect was part of the plan. military helicopters dumped water on the facility, but worries about nuclear exposure forced the choppers to be 09 meters above the plant to make efforts less accurate. small steps in averting a major disaster. >> in total, there have been four such operations conducted by air with the water be funneled into the spent fool pool. >> another step is restoring electric power to the plant's cooling systems. officials said they have laid a cable, but electricity has not yet been switched on. >> once we get power supply and then we'll be able to operate a cooling system using sea water. >> out of the crisis has pushed
6:03 pm
several countries including china, germany, and israel to at least temporarily rethink their policies on atomic power. the u.n.'s atomic watch dog dispatched its director to japan as a senior official described the situation at fukushima as relatively stable. >> and to talk more about the events happening at the fukushima power plant, i'm joined in the studio now by our science correspondent, derek williams. thanks as always for being with us, derek. can you explain for us what has been done on thursday at the plant to cool down these reactors? >> well, on thursday, really a lot of what happened revolved around these pools that are inside of the secondary structure of the building where they store dispensed fuel rods. that at the moment seems to be one of the biggest dangers of a massive radioactive leak. until now, people have been worried about the reactors themselves and breaching the containment chamber and possible meltdown and explosion
6:04 pm
and now they have got it to an extent under control. we haven't heard anything in that direction in the last 24 hours or so. now people are focused on the spent fuel rods and the drarnse that they pose to the immediate environment and possibly longer term to tokyo. >> the teams at the plant are expected to have the power lines up and running again soon. what kind of effect will that have? >> that's a very positive development, actually. it's one of the reasons that everybody began to breathe out a little bit more today. if they manage to get the power up and running, then that means that theoretically at least, they could possibly turn back on the cooling systems inside of the reactors. that would go a long way towards ensuring that the now partial core meltdown that they have didn't go any further. >> ok. and aside from that, what are the next steps to try to get this situation under control? >> well, they need to keep throwing water at the buildings as they're doing now. they need to keep trying to
6:05 pm
cool things down as much as they possibly can and they have to cool down especially these pools, the immersion pools where the spent fuel rods are. if they began to burn, if they go dry and they heat enough and they will burn. at that point, especially in reactor two and three, possibly reactor four as well because the roof is gone, you might start to get a massive contamination in the immediate environment. that's what they need to focus on next. >> we certainly don't want to see that happen. derek, as always, thanks for your assessment, derek williams, dw-tv science correspondent. well, authorities in japan are struggling to ensure reliable water and power supplies in tokyo and in areas hit by the earthquake as temperatures fall below zero in some places, nearly one million people are without heating or electricity. over 1 1/2 million people have no running water. residents of tokyo have been warned that a large-scale power
6:06 pm
outage is a possibility. train services have been reduced to conserve power and authorities have appealed to the public to ration electricity. so far, tokyo has avoided any unscheduled blackouts. ok, about what about companies that import japanese products? how are they going to cope? >> exactly. what is causing a lot of anxiety for these companies about the supply chain problems, especially here in germany. it's not just the electronic sector, companies in the engineers and optics sector have warned about delivery problems too. volkswagen, europe's biggest automaker says that it can only count on deliveries from japan until next week. it buys gearboxes that counts for production here in europe. the japanese chamber of commerce has also moved to assure customers that there is no danger of radiation from the country's products. and european stocks rebounded on thursday ahead of the g-7
6:07 pm
finance ministers meeting called to consider the japanese crisis. steph phan wolf sent us this report from the trading from frankfort. >> after six days of straight losses, the principal of hope made the share prices, the dax went up again and closed more than 2% in positive they'rety, especially shares -- territory, especially those shares of companies are on the recommended list that suffered most from the selloff of the last few days. one of those have been the shares of siemen, here on the frankfort floor mainly because of the fact that the german government decided to shut down some nuclear plants and this is what investors are now hoping that siemans as a power plant make can make profits out of this decision. and european sto rebounded on thursday ahead of
6:08 pm
the g-7 finance ministers meeting called to consider the japanese crisis. and we have a check on the numbers for you. the dax closed at 6656, just over two percentage points up. the 50 on the other hand at 2786. we go over to new york where the dow jones industrial average is trading at 11,774. the euro trading for $1.4019. with the potential nuclear power plant disaster looming in japan, the future of energy sources is one of the hot topics in germany. already seven of the country's oldest nuclear power stations are being taken off the net and at the energy exchange, the market is already responding. >> one-day hike is rare at the leipzig energy exchange. when the government announced the moratorium for seven
6:09 pm
plants, the electricity prices raced ahead. trading in electricity measured in terowatt hours has been brisk. >> total consumption including industry is 500 terowatt hours. we deal with 10% on a trading day. that increased by four over the last few trading days. >> with german atomic power stations are undergoing safety checks. if half of the plants were taken offline, the big question is where will people in germany be getting their electricity from? the answers aren't yet clear. things have simply been too volatile to make credible forecasts about a market reliant on gas, coal and renewables. >> an alternative sources of energy like solar and wind are environmentally friendly but not without challenge. it requires an extensive
6:10 pm
infrastructure which takes years and substantial investment to get off the ground. >> this wind park located 50 kilometers off germany's north sea coast has supplied the country with electricity. it's set for expanse now. but power from the turbines has to first be brought ashore and then distributed throughout the country from the northern coast all the way to southern germany if need be. that requires an extensive infrastructure. germany's fragmented power grid, however, is not designed for that kind of load. it needs streamlining and upgrading to transport large amounts of electricity. the country's energy agency says it will take years and an investment of as least 10 billion euros to complete the task. on top of that, wind and sun are subject to variations in intensity.
6:11 pm
to insure a power supply on cloudy days, it needs storing in plants like this. there aren't enough for them for the job here yet either. >> and former deutsch bank c.e.o. will soon be in court again in a case related to, a case that was brought by a media mogul. he is accused of perjuring himself during a 2003 case brought. he sued the bank after casting doubts on objectively to pay back loans. it filed for bankruptcy when the credit lines were pulled. it was argued that the information was based on media reports. they say the bank boss has insider knowledge and is looking for billions in damages. >> megan, because to you for more news. >> the latest on libya, sarah. in new york, the security council is due to vote in the next few hours on a resolution which would impose a no-fly
6:12 pm
zone over libya, final drafts say it allows all necessary measures to protect civilians short of an invasion. the libyan defense ministry says it will retaliate against any foreign attack on its territory by hitting targets in the mediterranean. meanwhile, libyan leader muammar gaddafi says an assault on a city are imminent. his troops are pushing forward to the city. >> government troops pushed the front line ever closer to the rebel strong hold. on wednesday, the airport was bombed by the air force. the rebels brought down two of the attacking planes. there has also been fierce fighting in and around the cities in the west and another further to the east. the rebels are standing their ground, but the attackers are increasing their efforts. they have one city surrounded and continue pound the city with artillery fire.
6:13 pm
if it falls, the road will be left open. the roads leading into the city were scenes of earlier fighting. they're bringing supplies to gaddafi's troops. witnesses say 30 people were killed in the fighting here. rebel leaders have appealed once again to the international community to end the bloodshed, but world leaders haven't agreed on a course of action. meanwhile, gaddafi is already celebrating victory. he says his armies will seize the city in a number of hours and is warning rebels to expect no mercy. >> for more on the u.n. draft resolution, we can go to max hoffman who is standing by dw-tv studios in washington. max, deliberations are still continuing in the u.s. what are the details of the resolution on the table? >> well, the resolution was drafted by the british and the french and it basically calls for all measures that would
6:14 pm
protect civilians. that includes a cease-fire, end to violence, and most importantly, a ban on libyan air space excluding humanitarian flights. it excludes the use or deployment of occupational force. what it boils down to this resolution is military force focusing on a no-fly zone, but excluding occupation. >> who is in favor and who is against and do you think it will pass? >> well, it's always hard to say with the security council. there seems to be a majority for it, even a comfortable majority. that is not the question. the question is what will the veto powers do, especially here, the two countries that are most likely to use their veto, china and russia for various reasons. russia has very good relationships or had very good relationships with libya, has a lot of investment down there with the gas industry. the french diplomats who have been very aggressive pushing this resolution seem quite confident that their resolution will pass, that there will be
6:15 pm
no veto, so that would mean that probably china and russia would abstain their vote or something like that. it's, like i said, the security council, so it's not over until it's over. >> germany is being very cautious in terms of this no-fly zone over libya. why do you think that is? >> the germans have been more than cautious now. the german foreign minister says there is not going to be any german soldiers in libya including no german soldiers in a no-fly zone. the germans are cautious and hesitant when it comes into military intervention in the country. they are now in afghanistan, that's not go very well, especially with the public. they're hesitant to open up a second front. on top of that, the germans aren't convinced that a no-fly zpone would help. -- zone would help. we're not sure a no-fly zone will help. what the germans are offering as an alternative is to crank
6:16 pm
up the sanctions. >> max, we thank you very much for that assessment from washington. in saudi arabia, authorities say king abdullah will be offers a number of decrees. the royal court did not say what he would say. saudi arabia is an absolute month narcy and has no parliament. dissident groups have tried to organize protests, but it's mostly been spared the unrest that has hit other arab countries. riyad sent troops to help quell protests by minority schweitz there. and police in bahrain have arrested six prominent opposition activists a day after a viable crackdown on protesters calling for political reform. the capital is relatively calm talking, but the police have stepped up their presence. on wednesday, three protesters and three police officers were killed when security personnel forcibly cleared demonstrators from the square.
6:17 pm
we'll be back after a short break with more international news, so don't go away. >> you decide what you want to watch. all the images, all the programs, the whole package. dw-tv on the internet, the media center on dw world.de. >> take a closer look. whenever you see people who are not able to lead a dignified life, the global media forum 2011 is looking for your pictures on the subject of human rights and globalization.
6:18 pm
email us your photos with a short description and win an ipod. for more information on our competition, go to dwgmf.de. >> nut clear crisis in japan has prompted countries around the world to rethink their commitment to atomic energy. chancellor angela merkel said in a speech that germany wants to accelerate the change to renewable energy and reach that goal as quickly as possible. she described the events in japan as a turning point for the world and she said her decision to provisionally shut down some of the country's oldest reactors was fully justified. chancellor merkel arrived prepared for a tough didn't. she defended the decision to temporarily take germany's old reactors offline. she said safety had to come first and the government's top priority was to protect the
6:19 pm
population. >> this is a precautionary measure. it's not a deal or a secret agreement or anything else. we're applying the nuclear laws in accordance with the new situation. nothing more, nothing less. that is what responsibility means. [applause] >> merkel said nuclear power must be phased out gradually. she said it made no sense to close down reactors just to buy nuclear power from abroad where safety standards are lower. germany has 17 nuclear power plants. the government has ordered the shutdown of the seven oldest for three months pending a review of safety standards. the opposition says the move is designed to deflect criticisms ahead of elections. they accuse chancellor merkel of playing down the dangers and they believe nothing will change after the moratorium. >> we don't want to just you relying on reaching a better
6:20 pm
decision in three months time than three months earlier. we want parliament to decide because it's impossible to tell how you'll feel tomorrow. >> opposition parties including the social democrats are now demanding a quicker phaseout of germany's nuclear reactors. >> back to japan now where the tsunami stricken northeast, officials have released a preliminary count of those dead or missing putting the number upwards at 15,000. now, for the half a million refugees living in shelters or out in the open, freezing temperatures are making a bad situation even worse. >> this city on the northeast coast of japan was all about swept away by the tsunami. it was once home to 23,000 people. authorities still don't know how many of them escaped harm, but the chances of finding survivors now are almost nonexistant. even so, rescue workers
6:21 pm
continue to pick their way through the ruins street by street. >> today what we're doing is searching in this one block. so far this morning, we found five bodies. >> the escape of the destruction is huge and it's difficult to imagine that this city could be built any time soon. those that have survived have lost everything. many of them have found temporary shelter in this retirement home. with more than 800 people sleeping here every night, space is limited. >> we're over capacity and they sometimes ask us to go into the mountains at night. even if you have money in your pockets, there is no use for it . >> it may not be home, but at least it's warm. outside it's cold and wet leaving many no other choice
6:22 pm
than to stay. >> so with weather in northern japan taking a turn for the worse, i asked our correspondent chris johnson how tsunami survivors were coping. >> it's very, very cold, another cold night, even colder tonight than it has been. we're talking minus six, minus three and a lot of these people are laying on the floor of a school gymnasium or they're sleeping in a tent. a lot of these people ran away from their houses on a nice friday afternoon so they had no coats or blankets with them and there is a shortage of that stuff up there. a lot of these people are saying they can't sleep at night because it's so cold. >> chris, now, there is a massive army presence in the north of japan right now. there are 100,000 troops in the areas worse affected by the earthquake and tsunami. what is their main focus? >> they're really trying to get
6:23 pm
the lifeline up and running. that's what they call it in japan. the soldiers are clearing away some of the rubble from these obliterated towns and cities trying to move the wood and the other structures and create some roads so they can get vehicles in there and start getting more and more aid to people because there are reports that food and supplies are piling up at these drop-off points up in the north, but they can't get them to the victims. so the army is trying to work on that. they are also trying to get a runway going at the airport. you might remember that that airport was completely swamped by the tsunami. there were cars and airplanes strewn all over that airport. if they can get that runway smooth, that will help in terms of getting supplies into the north. then what they got to do is get them to the more remote areas. >> now, we understand one of the emerging problems is the number of orphans, children who
6:24 pm
survived the earthquake and the devastating tsunami, but have now lost their parents. >> yeah, it's a really terrible thing. a lot of these kids are, they're disoriented. they don't know how to find their parents. they're going around, you can imagine, they're going to a shelter and looking around and there is 400 people in a shelter and they're trying to see if they can find their parents or relatives. there are lists of the dead and the missing in these places, so they're going to that. some aid workers are helping them by going to databases online, but this is a real problem, just trying to sort out people, trying to link people back together with each other and the death toll and the number of people missing is at least 15,000 right now and it could very much go up. >> chris johnson, we thank you very much for that update. well, the leipzig book fair has gotten underway. serbian literature is being
6:25 pm
highlighted this year, but the situation in japan has overshadowed events. japanese comics and books about nuclear disasters are now garnering much attention. >> japanese comic book authors are usually an important part of the book fair, but the disaster forced many to cancel. that hasn't phased german publishers. >> the japanese told us, keep going, we're fighting. we have to fight our way through life, too. please don't stop distributing the books. >> visitors here can sample japanese writing and donate for the victims of the quake and tsunami. books on nuclear energy perils are popular here. one is about a woman born the year of the disaster. >> i can't believe that what happened 25 years ago has caught up with us all over again.
6:26 pm
>> writer and former leading green party politician presented her new book on war, poverty, and nuclear power. she was applauded for calling for an immediate end to nuclear power. >> smiling faces and human chains have unfortunately yet to lead to the shut down of a single atomic power station. if all of the plants in germany keep operating, then we're next contamination problem. >>nor the victims of the disaster in japan, the book fair has cancelled all german-japanese events. >> and that wraps up the journal at this hour. stay tuned to dw-tv for more news and information. we leave you with some images from the catastrophe in japan. te
6:27 pm
6:28 pm
6:29 pm
6:30 pm
♪ - hi, this is bob scully, and welcome to another edition of the world show, the authors series. quick: alan m. dershowitz. what does he do? yes, he's a lawyer--a super lawyer, one might say. celebrated cases come to mind-- o.j. simpson, claus von bülow.
6:31 pm
he fears no one in the courtroom, that's obvious, but he doesn't fear the blank page either. he's a very prolific and talented author. his latest offering, the novel the trials of zion. here's alan dershowitz. alan dershowitz, you have written quite the thriller and the page-turner here, so i don't want to give anything away, but i do note that the main character is a super lawyer living on boston who has a daughter, and the daughter at some point comes into peril, and all of that is described so sincerely, i couldn't help but wonder, you the boston super lawyer, do you have a daughter, and have you fantasized in this way about something happening to her? - well, i do have a daughter, and the main character lawyer's name is abe ringle--ringle is my mother's maiden name--and abe is kind of a variation on my hebrew name, avraham--abraham--so the character is loosely based on me, and the character of emma is loosely based on my daughter
6:32 pm
ella, who is a little younger, not yet out of law school, but one always fantasizes about a feisty daughter who has her own mind, getting into all kinds of difficulties, and the fantasy is her father will help her. of course, that's not my daughter's fantasy. my daughter's fantasy is she'll help me. - yes, for now, but if she reads this, she can go one of two ways: she can decide that, indeed, she'll never want to get into harm's way; or, she can decide that, quite the opposite, she's got to get into harm's way. - well, she's read it, and clearly she's a kind of young woman who never misses an opportunity to be involved in interesting things. - and, as in all spy and political thrillers, there are many levels of deceit and deception here. that's kind of a given of the genre, but to be frank, i was surprised at the degree of deception on the part of people like shin bet, for instance--the israeli
6:33 pm
intelligence service--where you imagine because they're in a democracy they're going to be a bit more idealistic, but they're not, and they lie and so forth repeatedly, and you really take them down. - well, i don't try to take them down; i'm trying to be very realistic. i mean, the mossad, and shin bet, and m6, and the cia are known and judged by their effectiveness, not by whether they keep their promises or keep their word. there was a very important hearing in israel some years ago where the shin bet basically said, "we have a licence to lie", and the court said, "no you don't. you certainly don't have a licence to commit perjury in front of the courts". and we know that intelligence agencies live by deceit. in fact, the best ones are the most deceitful, and have to violence less than the other more primitive ones, which just use violence. so i think i'm realistically describing how
6:34 pm
intelligence agencies operate. of course, in this book, the lawyer as well, the abe character, has to stretch the limits of ethics because his own daughter's life's at stake, and he has to win a case on behalf of a client who wants to die. his client is a suicide defendant. having tried to be a suicide bomber, he's a suicide defendant, and the idea of a lawyer needing to win a case on behalf of a client who wants to lose the case presents an interesting legal and political twist as well. - indeed it does, and in this case, anyway, in your view, shin bet is still committing perjury without blinking for a second. - well, their job is to preserve the country and to protect it from iranian nuclear threats and other threats, and the truth is the first casualty not only of warfare, but the truth is the first casualty of any effective intelligence service. also, false flag operations pretending to act on behalf of one country
6:35 pm
when you're really acting on behalf of another country. you know, you have double agents and triple agents. these are all things that i've experienced in my career as a lawyer. one of my first cases, i represented a guy who turned out to be really a triple agent. he fooled me, for a while at least, and he certainly fooled the government. - and one thing that was absolutely new to me, that there are no juries in israeli courts, i didn't know that. doesn't that make the whole thing a little bit easier to get away with, because in the us, where you have juries, but not only that, you have the press that can interview the jury afterwards, there's a kind of openness to the process. it seems to me that would make it harder to deceive. - i think the opposite. i think it's easier to get away with deception in front of a jury than in front of an experienced judge. i purposely create a judge based on a real judge in israel, whose name is shamgar, who used to be the attorney general of israel,
6:36 pm
who's one of the most prominent judges there. you can't put anything by that guy. he's a former prosecutor, a former military officer, and a judge, whereas we know that juries who come in just for one case and leave after that, they're amateurs, and it's a little easier to slip things by them. and, of course, my character, abe, totally exploits all the differences between the israeli legal system and the us legal system--differences regarding the privilege against self- incrimination, how you treat a witness on the stand, the absence of a jury. his job is to win at all costs to save his daughter, and hopefully to win on behalf of a client who may be innocent but who wants to be found guilty and wants to be executed by the israelis so he can go to paradise and live as a martyr. - and shamgar is not the only "real" quote-unquote character in there. for instance, at some point, one of your other characters quotes antonin scalia, the us supreme court justice, and says, "oh, i know
6:37 pm
scalia, and he thinks this and that". did you run that by him? - ah, no, but i know scalia, and it is consistent with what he very well might say. even the character the intelligence agent--we're not going to give away his role, but dennis savage is based on a friend of mine named rollie savage, who is a former secret service agent with the united states government. i did run it by him because he's a close friend and i wanted to make sure he was not unhappy with the way he was portrayed, and he got a good laugh out of it. and, you know, i do use characters who are real in my life, because, you know, i'm not dostoevsky. i can't just make characters up out of whole cloth. i am a lawyer who has to write based on my own experiences. fortunately, i have a lot of experiences that are relevant to telling a story like this. - i'm sure it made it more fun for you to insert them in there, but after publication, at least,
6:38 pm
did you send it to them? - i did, and i've gotten mixed reactions. some of them say, "wow! my name's in the book!" other say, "why did you use me? my god, i'm not such a positive character". of course, the opening character in the book is the president of the united states, modelled a little bit on bill clinton, and i was a little concerned about showing it to president clinton, because, of course, this one i don't have to give away, but the opening scene has the president of the united states and the leaders of palestine and israel all being blown up as they try to sign a peace treaty. and i didn't want to show bill clinton that fact that he lasts only one scene in the book and then he's a goner, right? - he wouldn't like that, and, well, at least you didn't put an intern in. - no. [chuckling] - and i notice there's a literary technique that you resuscitate which has been out of fashion for quite a while, which is to telegraph what's coming in the chapter at the top of the chapter. that was done a lot in victorian novels, of course, and in the 18th century,
6:39 pm
because they were serialized in newspapers and so on. but, for instance, when you write, "the attempted escape" before it even happens, you're telegraphing your plot. why? - well, i like to make it a page-turner. i like people to want to turn the page. i do telegraph it a little, but often i telegraph it in a way that doesn't quite capture the complexity of what's going to happen. you know, my son, who's a filmmaker, said to me when i was writing this book, "if you have a message, buy a billboard; if you want to tell a story, write a novel". and so i decided really to tell a story, and the reviews so far have been terrific. they all call it a page-turner. so i'm happy with that. and somebody complimented me a lot. he didn't mean this compliment, but after reading the book, he said, "by the way, are you on the palestinian side more, or on the pro-israel side more?" because in the novel, one of the central good characters is a palestinian christian human rights activist. even the terrorists, you get to understand them. you don't
6:40 pm
necessarily approve of them, but you understand the motives that drive them. this isn't intended to be a book of advocacy. obviously it's modelled in some degree on leon uris' exodus, which told the story of israel's establishment. this tells the story of the palestinian-israeli conflict through the eyes of several families, beginning at the beginning and going to the future, so it is a panoramic. but basically the central point is the page-turning story, the legal thriller, the political thriller, the thriller about iranian nuclear reactors and terrorist plots and the ins and outs of intelligence agencies. - and another technique you use, i notice, interesting technique, that is more proper to literature than to the sort of cinematic storytelling that we get nowadays where everything has to come together in the final scene, you take a central fact of the first half of the book, which is a kidnapping-- which should normally, again, in a movie structure, be solved
6:41 pm
at the end--and you stop it in the middle of the book and change the focus completely. you do that in literature, not in the movies, and most books nowadays are written like movies, but you change the focus like that in the middle. - you're right. i wanted to make sure this had multiple twists and turns, and obviously you could have written a whole novel about the kidnapping and the role of the father in trying to free her, but i wanted that only to be the beginning to an even greater denouement where really the world faces an existential crisis which this young girl, her father, and the help of various intelligence agencies have to confront. and one of my favourite scenes-- again, not giving it away-- is a torture scene, because i've become infamous for my advocacy of torture warrants--i don't support torture, but i support accountability in the use of torture--and so i felt obligatory on me to write something about the use of torture in an actual ticking-
6:42 pm
bomb situation, and this is a literal ticking-bomb situation. but the torture that's employed is a very different kind of torture than the one that one normally thinks about. - and speaking of that-- the unexpected in the book-- abe ringle in the courtroom comes up with some really, really astounding tricks-- not even tricks of the trade, because he makes them up. they're really a kind of legal poetry, and it wins him his case. and, of course, you're known for that, and i thought to myself, just as he is up all night trying to save his daughter, thinking up things like that, you must have-- in o.j. simpson, claus von bülow, in those cases--stayed up all night trying to dream up some kind of totally astounding development. - i try my best to do that. i mean, the first big case i ever won was based on a trick that i used trying to persuade a policeman thmething on tape that we didn't have on tape, and getting him to
6:43 pm
admit some things that he never would have admitted otherwise, and i really stretched the envelope in that case, and it resulted in an acquittal of people who were charged with murder, and that was very controversial. and over the years i've tried to use whatever is ethical and permissible. mostly i try to use science in my real cases, and i try to expose the failures of junk science in the courtroom, but i'm constantly trying to use my imagination and creativity, and i bring to bear in my novels my real experience in the courtroom, but i always bring to bear in the courtroom my experience with literature. i've won two cases based on quoting literature. one, chekhov, and the other, shakespeare. othello, desdemona's handkerchief--i used that as a metaphor very much in the von bülow case. and i used the chekhov notion, "if you hang a gun on the wall in the first act, you had better use it by the third act", to win a very difficult murder-insurance-
6:44 pm
business case several years ago, so i try very hard to live an integrated life where my literary interests work effectively in the courtroom, and my courtroom experience works to help my literary output, and they all help in the teaching. that's my goal. - your character, abe ringle, doesn't mind if he's on the quote-unquote "wrong side" of the case in the eyes of everybody in the co he doesn't mind, and he just forges ahead. you've often been on the "wrong side" not only in the courtroom, but in the court of public opinion, which is a different, much broader form, and you've forged ahead. but what effect does it have on you when, for instance, in the case of o.j. simpson, claus von bülow, where you won or you participated in the winning of acquittals, people have continued to talk about those two guys as if they're guilty parties, and they haven't sued about it, and people keep saying it, and obviously public opinion definitely disagrees with the verdict. do you feel an qualms
6:45 pm
about that? - well, i... you know, no, i don't find any inconsistency there, because, you know, the jury doesn't find people innocent; it just finds that there was no proof beyond a reasonable doubt that they were guilty. and history can have a different verdict than the law. i mean, history can conclude that people were guilty even though they were found not guilty. so i have no problem, as long as the trial is over; while the trial is ongoing, i don't think it's right for the public to try to influence the outcome of a criminal trial proceeding. but once it's over, history has its own independent claims. - you're familiar, i'm sure, with the classic question put to all defence lawyers, "would you defend somebody that you know to be guilty?" and the classic retort from defence lawyers is usually, "well, it doesn't matter, because even if they're guilty, they deserve a strong defence, and if we win, we win". is that your position? - my position is that i want to put the government to its
6:46 pm
challenge in every case. look, most of my clients inevitably are guilty, of course. would anybody want to live in a country where the majority of people charged with a crime are innocent? certainly that's not canada, that's not the united states, that's not great britain, that's not israel. it may be iran, it may be china, but it's not the countries that we admire. so in order to keep it that way, it's very important for defence attorneys to press the government hard, to make sure they prove every case beyond a reasonable doubt. and remember, it's better for ten guilty to go free than for one innocent to be wrongly convicted. that was the message that goes back as early as abraham arguing with god over the sinners of sodom. and so when a guilty man goes free, it's not a tragedy; it's an inevitable consequence of our system of heavy burden of proof on the government. but when an innocent person wrongly gets convicted, that's a tragedy, and that's to be prevented at all costs, which is why i fight so hard on behalf of clients, most of whom i don't know whether they're guilty or innocent at the time i'm taking their case. i have my opinion, but
6:47 pm
i can't be sure. and i've been surprised. i've taken cases where i've believed the client was guilty, and came away absolutely believing they didn't do it. and i've had other cases where i've started thinking they might be innocent, and where, in the end, i've been persuaded they're guilty, but i can't drop the case in the middle. - i remember going to the jack henry abbott trial in new york city, sitting next to norman mailer. i'm sure you recall that case where this young writer, who had spent most of his life in jail, was championed by mailer, freed thanks to the efforts of mailer and others, and then immediately committed a murder on the way out. i mean, i'm sure you recall that-- - not only do i recall him; that man tried to have me as his lawyer, and he jumped me in the jail and tried to strangle me, and that's why i didn't take his case. - but what a case, though. i mean, he write this brilliant book, jack henry abbott. he was in jail almost from childhood, and he write in the belly of the beast, which takes you inside the american inferno of the worst jails. mailer champions
6:48 pm
him, gets him freed. he turns around and stabs richard adan, the waiter in the village. how do you feel about that? have you ever defended somebody successfully who went out and committed a capital crime? - it's never happened. it's my terrible nightmare. i've never had a client who i've gotten acquitted who has gone and done it--or done it again if he did it previously. it's never happened to me. but, boy, it really gives me nightmares. i don't take cases involving people who are ongoing criminals--at least, if i know that. but the abbott case, what happened is much more interesting. i don't believe that normal mailer actually freed him from prison. when i met with him, i had done a lot of research, and i came to the conclusion, the reason he was freed from prison was because he was a fink, because he was an undercover guy, because he was ratting out his friends. and when i confronted him with that reality in prison, he leapt across the table and tried to kill me. and a guard had to come in and rescue me, and at that point, i said,
6:49 pm
"i'm not representing somebody who's trying to kill me. i'm not getting close to him again. let him get a lawyer who he likes a little better than he liked me". so that's one case i turned down. - now, you're very attached to israel, but the picture you paint of israel's situation is pretty scary, and you're not the first. you depict it as being surrounded by countries with huge populations waiting to pounce. so, ergo, are you a pessimist on israel's future? - no i'm not, because israel's also surrounded by good and decent people. many of the palestinians that i have met on the west bank--and i modelled, obviously, one of the characters after a human rights person on the west bank who i've had contact with and who i admire enormously--i find there are so many good people on the west bank, and i'm sure there are many good people who live in gaza too. unfortunately, they're under the thumb of terrible people in hamas. and there are very good people in lebanon, but they're under the terrible control of hezbollah, which is ultimately
6:50 pm
under the control of ahmadinejad and the iranian mulazin. it's the leadership that worry me, not the people themselves. i think many of the people in the middle east are good and decent people who want good futures for their children, and they can have it. i recently went to the west bank and visited with the prime minister of palestine, and i saw in ramallah real progress and a beautiful city with high technology and good restaurants, and it presents a model of what the west bank could look like if the palestinian authority would only recognize israel's right to exist as the state nation of the jewish people, and make a real peace, not the kind of peace that's just a tactic designed to ultimately turn israel into yet another palestinian or arab state. so i'm not pessimistic. i'm realistic, but my realism is tinged by optimism because of my contact with good and decent people on all sides. - iran is very present in the
6:51 pm
novel and is uppermost in your mind. and, of course, iran is the only country--even though it's very dangerous--where the middle class has actually tried to rise up against the theocracy, against the power of the imams. in other arab countries or muslim countries, the street--the arab street or the muslim street--hasn't tried that. so are we going to see more of that, and isn't that the change we need to see happen in the muslim world? absolutely, and, of course, iran has a long history of a middle class, and secularism, and feminism. it goes back well before the shah. the united states made its share of mistakes in propping up dictators, and then carter's failures in dealing with the emerging revolution in iran. we've made our share of mistakes, but there is a core of very, very good secular, intelligent,
6:52 pm
egalitarian people in iran waiting for an opportunity to bring that country into the 21st century, and i'm hoping, of course, that there will be a change of regime, and an internally-produced revolution, but if that doesn't happen, there's going to have to be some external measures to prevent iran from developing nuclear weapons. an iran with nuclear weapons is a game changer. it will cause the end of nuclear non-proliferation. it will start an arms race. it will increase terrorism, and it will make peace impossible in the middle east, even if israel makes peace with the palestinians. the 800- pound gorilla, soon to become a 10,000-pound gorilla, is iran with its nuclear weapons. - in the book there are passing references--and for you, they're just sort of little signposts-- to abe ringle and his duties back home, because he's over there in the middle east and he's so busy with his daughter's fate and so on. he hasn't been tending to stuff back home,
6:53 pm
but he has to, and he has to tear himself away and go back to some more boring stuff. and i was thinking of you because i'm fascinated with your schedule. you teach, you write, you do take cases, so, i mean, somebody watching right now, if they think they have a case you should take, what do they do? can they just call you up? how does that work? i mean, can you even take any? - i get hundreds and hundreds of requests every year to take cases. i take a very limited number. mostly either first amendment free speech cases or cases involving the death penalty or cases that i care deeply about. but what i try to do is live an integrated life where my teaching is integrated with my small caseload, my cases help inform my teaching. i write a lot about my experiences from my cases and my political experiences, so i try to live an integrated life. and the real secret is i'm a bum. i love to go to sporting events. i love to walk on the
6:54 pm
beach. i'm essentially lazy. i like spending time with my family. i like going to operas. yeah, i work very hard, and i'm fairly efficient, but i love my spare time and living a full life. you know, you only get one chance to go around. i don't want to miss anything, and that's the way i live my life. - now, there's one kind of lawyerly joke in there. it's when abe ringle says, "your honour, i think better when i'm paid more". so are you revealing something about yourself, or are you just making fun of lawyers? [chuckling] - a little bit. it's a remark made by a teacher of mine at yale law school. i don't think it's true for me. i think i think more clearly when i'm more motivated, but i'm not as motivated by money. i'm motivated much more by passion and by the cause, and i think that really does help clarify my thinking.
6:55 pm
and, you know, you do change your mind over time, and something you thought you were certain about, you become less certain about as you get older and as you experience more things, and i think that's particularly true when you're a teacher of young people, and every day, people come in with new ideas that are fresh to you, and you remain fresh and young when you teach 18-year-old kids, as i do when i teach college classes, and 22-year-old kids when i teach law school classes. - well, alan dershowitz, i know you're very busy, but the day i get busted, you're the first guy i'm calling. - well, don't get busted. i hope i don't ever have to represent you. i'd like to continue to talk to you, because you ask great questions. - and you gave great answers. thank you so much. - thank you. - alan dershowitz spoke to us from his office at harvard. his book, once again, the trials of zion. and that's the world show for this week. i'm bob scully. have a great week. thanks.
6:56 pm
closed captioning by sette inc.
6:57 pm
6:58 pm
6:59 pm

tv
Sino Tv Early Evening News
PBS March 17, 2011 6:00pm-7:00pm PDT

Series/Special.

TOPIC FREQUENCY Israel 14, Iran 9, Us 8, Germany 8, Libya 6, United States 5, West Bank 5, Abe Ringle 5, Alan Dershowitz 4, Mailer 4, Japan 4, China 4, Tokyo 4, Claus Von Bülow 3, Merkel 3, O.j. Simpson 3, Middle East 3, Russia 3, U.n. 3, Abe 3
Network PBS
Duration 01:00:00
Source Comcast Cable
Tuner Channel 107 (693 MHz)
Video Codec mpeg2video
Audio Cocec ac3
Pixel width 528
Pixel height 480
Sponsor Internet Archive
Audio/Visual sound, color


disc Borrow a DVD of this show
info Stream Only
Uploaded by
TV Archive
on 3/18/2011
Views
119